“High Society will tickle the loins of your ears, and tantalize the cockles of your eyes,” is how Canadian poet Shane Koyczan describes the band that played at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre last Friday night.
High Society had the majority of Williams Lake concert goers up and dancing by their third song: Do Me Wrong. A crowd of all ages filled the small venue, about the size of an elementary school classroom known around town as The Old Firehall.
The opening act was a mesmerizing one-man performance from Shadows Cast: The Alkemist who had the audience on the edge of their seats in silent anticipation for each song. His sound was mysterious, complex and influenced by music from all over the globe, most evidently the Middle East. He describes his lyrics as inspired by psychedelic visions and dreams. The stage was set like a magician’s shrine from the dark-ages, complete with antlers, candles, tall-grasses and a unique mix of instruments.
When High Society hit the stage, there was a drastic change in energy from dark and spiritual to loud and spirited. High Society’s comically written lyrics and well thought out a cappella introductions had audience members giggling and snickering. When in full-swing their loud and raucous music was beautifully accompanied by the booming voice of their female lead Chelsea D.E. Johnson — her voice reminiscent of Etta James or Big Mama Thornton.
The band is composed of Johnson on electric guitar and Adam Farnsworth, a male singer on keyboard. The talented Ashton Sweet on the baritone saxophone, Kenan Sungur on drums and a bass player rounded it out. The East-Vancouver band lived up to their reputation and satisfied the cockles of most everyone’s ears which was evident from the whooping, whistling and roaring applause at the end of each song.
Tickets were a suggested $15, and the show was the first in the Safety Meetings concert series put together by Arts on the Fly Festival Society at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre. The next concert in the series will be Jan. 22 featuring Pharis and Jason Romero, followed by The Sweet Lowdown on the 29th.